Honest Criticism Needed!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
dekscholar
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:59 pm

Honest Criticism Needed!

Postby dekscholar » Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:43 am

Please share any and all thoughts and initial reactions. Thanks!

I crack open the family photo album, labeled “1999-2000.” As I flip through the first few pages, I savor memories of our family reunion at Lake Erie and of my first business enterprise, a neighborhood lawn mowing operation with my brother. Midway through the album, a photo of our family at the base of the Capital steps shows each of us smiling from ear to ear. This was my first visit to Washington, D.C., but unlike previous vacations, this time I was in a wheel chair, my resilient grin momentarily masking my exhaustion. Unable to repress it, a sinking sensation of vulnerability and sadness sweeps over me at the reminder of my illness. It began with typical flu-like symptoms, but quickly morphed into an obscure and often stigmatized disease.

After several months of fevers, muscle pain, and profound fatigue, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), an incapacitating disorder with a set of loosely defined symptoms. While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) acknowledges CFS as a valid medical condition, because it has no diagnostic laboratory test or biomarker, many doctors overlooked the seriousness of my condition. This, added to my new realization of the public’s general apprehension towards disabled people, made me feel completely invisible and powerless.

I channeled my frustration into learning about the research being done to alleviate CFS. This led me to a greater understanding of the role that government institutions play in funding medical research and disease awareness. For government-sponsored research on CFS, I found the numbers appalling and the implications enormous. While the CDC recognizes that over one million people in the U.S. suffer from CFS, and despite comments made by CDC expert, Dr. William Reeves, in 2007 describing people with CFS as being, “as sick and as functionally impaired as someone with AIDS or with breast cancer,” the CDC had done relatively little research on the disease, even diverting millions of dollars that Congress had designated for CFS research to other programs. Seeing how the CDC had trivialized CFS and prevented it from being seen as a serious health problem helped me understand the impact that government has on the everyday lives of citizens, both through action and inaction. Furthermore, it illustrated to me the limitations that government agencies face in serving citizens’ diverse needs.

While my health gradually improved, and I made a complete comeback by my 14th birthday, what I learned during my illness left an indelible impression on me, my conscience compelling me to find ways to make government more effective. I interned with a state senator in Harrisburg, PA, and was preparing for the U.S. Naval Academy when I sustained major injuries, including seven broken bones, in a car accident in 2006. Despite my injuries and mounting medical bills, I was able to continue pursing my education while attending community college.

At UC Berkeley, my studies have focused largely on the relationship between private enterprise and government. In one research undertaking, I analyzed the impact that pharmaceutical marketing practices have on both prescribers and patients alike. I concluded that although drug sales are highly essential to maintaining new drug discovery and development efforts, the tactics used by the industry to lure doctors into prescribing certain medications present a clear conflict of interest, with patient health-care all too often being compromised. For me, the shortcomings in our healthcare system provide just one example where the status quo has reigned in the business-government relationship, with greater society suffering as a result. As a regular attendee at the health care and economic forums at the Berkeley Center for Law, Business, and the Economy at Boalt Hall, I have gained further interest in the impact of law on business and the economy. My desire to further develop my knowledge and potential in these areas has led me to apply for law school, and I believe that a legal education from XXX Law School will give me the opportunity to achieve this goal.
Last edited by dekscholar on Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

wizger
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:22 am

Re: Honest Criticism Needed!

Postby wizger » Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:08 am

i think you focus a little too much on how bad the system is and too little about yourself. It's a pretty good topic to connect to law school and is pretty well written but you need to focus more on who you are.

hth

kosherboy2
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:29 am

Re: Honest Criticism Needed!

Postby kosherboy2 » Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:18 am

wizger wrote:i think you focus a little too much on how bad the system is and too little about yourself. It's a pretty good topic to connect to law school and is pretty well written but you need to focus more on who you are.

hth



Agreed. I think what your writing about can be pretty inspiring but you may need to explain just how exactly it's shaped you.

User avatar
twert
Posts: 414
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:13 pm

Re: Honest Criticism Needed!

Postby twert » Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:43 am

i'm not a fan of the present tense in the opening paragraph. you are missing an article before "base" and i find this sentence irksome:
"While my health gradually improved, and I made a complete comeback by my 14th birthday, what I learned during my illness left an indelible impression on me, my conscience compelling me to find ways to make government more effective."

i agree with the above poster that too much time is spent on the system. otherwise i think this is well written and will be well received.

tx1987
Posts: 115
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:21 pm

Re: Honest Criticism Needed!

Postby tx1987 » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:23 pm

wizger wrote:i think you focus a little too much on how bad the system is and too little about yourself. It's a pretty good topic to connect to law school and is pretty well written but you need to focus more on who you are.

hth


I agree completely. But I find your story to be quite compelling. I want to know more about it.

User avatar
existenz
Posts: 927
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:06 am

Re: Honest Criticism Needed!

Postby existenz » Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:22 pm

wizger wrote:i think you focus a little too much on how bad the system is and too little about yourself. It's a pretty good topic to connect to law school and is pretty well written but you need to focus more on who you are.


Mark me down as "agreed". The essay focuses far too much on the health care system, pharmaceutical company practices, etc. I pick up that you've had some struggles with medical issues (CFS, broken bones) but the real you never comes out.

Not saying you need to start over, but step back and rethink what you are really trying to say about yourself. What skills and experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for law school, what do you plan to do as a lawyer, etc. You're a good writer, but most of the essay feels beside the point.

dekscholar
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:59 pm

Re: Honest Criticism Needed!

Postby dekscholar » Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:51 am

Thanks for all the comments. Here's my latest version.

I crack open the family photo album, labeled “1999-2000.” As I flip through the first few pages, I savor memories of my makeshift basketball hoop and my first business, a neighborhood lawn mowing operation. Midway through the album, a photo of my family at the base of the Capitol steps shows each of us smiling from ear to ear, my resilient grin momentarily masking my exhaustion. This was my first visit to Washington, D.C., but unlike previous vacations, this time I was in a wheelchair. Unable to repress it, a sinking sensation of vulnerability and sadness sweeps over me at the reminder of my illness. What began as typical flu-like symptoms had quickly morphed into an obscure and often stigmatized disease.

After several months of fevers, muscle pain, and profound fatigue, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), an incapacitating disorder with a set of loosely defined symptoms. While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) acknowledges CFS as a valid medical condition, because it has no diagnostic laboratory test or biomarker, many doctors overlooked the seriousness of my condition. This, along with my new realization of the widespread public apprehension towards disabled people, made me feel completely invisible and powerless.

I channeled my frustration into learning about the research being done to alleviate CFS. This led me to a greater understanding of the role that government institutions play in funding medical research and disease awareness. For CFS, I found the numbers appalling and the implications enormous. The CDC recognizes that over one million people in the U.S. suffer from CFS, and CDC expert, Dr. William Reeves, has stated that: “People with CFS are as sick and as functionally impaired as someone with AIDS, or breast cancer.” Despite their knowledge of the seriousness of CFS, the CDC has done relatively little research on the disease, even mishandling millions of dollars Congress had allocated for CFS research. Seeing how the CDC had trivialized CFS and prevented it from being seen as a serious health problem helped me understand the impact that government has on the everyday lives of citizens, both through action and inaction.

While my health gradually improved, my illness left an indelible impression on me. Compelled to make a difference, I interned with a state senator and was preparing to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. However, in 2006, those plans were derailed when I was involved in a car accident and sustained serious injuries. Despite my setback, I continued pursing my education, attending community college and eventually transferring to UC Berkeley. Throughout, I have immersed myself in a variety of activities, further shaping my knowledge on issues that affect my community. Knowing first-hand how difficult it is to achieve academically with limited resources, I organized a campus-wide textbook drive and volunteered my time as a mentor and tutor for inner-Oakland youth. As a student senator, I fought for fiscal responsibility and facilitated better student access to learning resources.

At UC Berkeley, my studies have focused largely on the relationship between private enterprise and government. In one research undertaking, I analyzed the impact of pharmaceutical marketing practices on prescribers and patients alike. I concluded that although drug sales are highly essential to maintaining drug discovery and development efforts, the tactics used by the industry to lure doctors into prescribing certain medications present a clear conflict of interest, with patient health-care all too often being compromised. For me, the shortcomings in our healthcare system provide just one example where the status quo has reigned in the business-government relationship, with greater society suffering as a result. Attending the health care and economic forums at the Berkeley Center for Law, Business, and the Economy at Boalt Hall, I have gained further interest in the impact of law on business and the economy. My desire to further develop my knowledge and potential in these areas has led me to apply for law school, and I believe that a legal education from XXX Law School will give me the opportunity to achieve this goal.

User avatar
Snwboarder78
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2010 1:05 am

Re: Honest Criticism Needed!

Postby Snwboarder78 » Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:59 am

It is definitely a great topic for a PS. However, it seems, especially in your fourth paragraph it reads like a resume. In my personal opinion I believe that it is important to provide as much information as possible that would not be elsewhere on your application. You can use them to provide more insight into your motivation for attending law school and how they helped shape you, but simply listing them doesn't seem to serve a purpose. Overall I feel you need more narrative on how these experiences shaped your views. It comes across as slightly to much of a list and explanation of the disease instead. I hope that helps, you have the bones to a great PS there though.

Bankhead
Posts: 1124
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:50 am

Re: Honest Criticism Needed!

Postby Bankhead » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:42 am

This is very good! It's getting late, so get your apps out and don't refine much further.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.